How to Survive Beyond the Start-up Stage

10 years on celebrates rising from fraud to financial success Back in the spring of 2002 BBC 6 Music launched, coal mining ended in Scotland and the Queen Mother died. Another story that crept under the media radar at that time was the launch of the online printer ink retailer, On 22 April 2012 serial entrepreneur, John Sollars, celebrates a decade of trading and gives advice to start-ups on how to survive beyond the early years. John Sollar’s tips for new businesses: “It’s different for everyone but these tactics have worked for me.” Stay single. If you start a business with a friend, you will fall out eventually. That’s my experience, anyway. When my first business failed the bank chased me for the total amount of the guarantees ... »

Exporting: 10 Key Steps

Exporting: 10 Key Steps

Follow these 10 steps for export success: 1. Research your Market Does your prospective foreign customer need what you are selling at the price that will yield you a profit? What is the competition and how will they react?   2. Implement an export strategy and review your capabilities Ask yourself: what would my business gain from exporting?   3. Construct an export plan Define how you will enter the foreign market. Finalise human resources and marketing strategy and allocate an adequate budget to cover export start-up costs.   4. Choose your sales presence Establish whether you need a direct sales operation. Or is an agent or distributor more effective? How will you manage your overseas sales presence?   5. Promote your product How are you going to market and sell your... »

How to Write a Case Study for PR

Jane Lee of Dexterity explains the steps required to produce a case study as part of your PR activities. A case study is an excellent way to present your company in a positive light, both in the media and as marketing collateral. It describes how a customer’s business has benefitted from using your product (or service). And don’t just think of them as written documents, you can create an audio file (a podcast) or video interview. Here we’ll focus on the written approach. Creating a good story First contact a customer to see if they are happy to be profiled; explain the benefits, like free PR and back link opportunities. Check if the spokesperson is prepared to give press interviews by phone if required. Remember that you want to entertain as well as educate the reader with the case study. ... »

Snowbound Workers – 9 Top Tips

At the time of writing, it’s snowing across a fair proportion of the British isles right now. The north and east are usually first affected but now that the snowfall has reached the south of England, the possibility of disruption has become more widespread. A number of business organisations have advised that the UK’s SMEs plan now for the disruption, but now the snow is upon us, here’s some practical advice for those working from home. Assuming that you’re able to work remotely, we present a list of top tips for snowbound workers, working from home. 1. Treat the day as you would any Normal Working Day Try and get up at the same time as you would for a regular work day. If you do have a long commute then maybe lying-in a little longer wouldn’t be too much of a... »

Tip top-up for Minimum Wage Outlawed

Tip top-up for Minimum Wage Outlawed

Using tips to make up staff pay to minimum wage levels will be outlawed from October this year, the government announced today. This will give thousands of workers fair wages and will ensure a fair and level playing field for employers and boost consumer confidence in the use of tips. The government will also be working towards greater transparency and clarity for consumers through a new industry code of best practice. Employment Relations Minister Pat McFadden said: "When people leave a tip for staff, in a restaurant or anywhere else, they have a right to know that it will not be used to make up the minimum wage. It is also important for employers to have a level playing field on wages. "This is a basic issue of fairness. We do not believe employers should be able to use tips me... »

Self Assessment

Tips for Self-assessment Tax Return

The paper self assessment tax return deadline is just around the corner. Anita Monteith, Technical Manager of the ICAEW Tax Faculty, has the following advice for the more than nine million people who are required to file a tax return. “With very little time now left before the new deadline for filing your self assessment on paper (31 October), it’s important to get all the relevant papers, forms and information together to make completion of the tax return as smooth a task as possible. “The tax return also looks different this year so it’s important that those required to file a self assessment don’t leave it until the last minute, as getting familiar with the new forms might take a bit of extra time, although in general they are simpler,” TOP TIPS Do yo... »

10 Tips for Green Fleet Management

There are a number of ways to make your business fleet greener. Not only is this better for the environment, but green fleet management is a cost-effective strategy for you as a business. It’s all about the bigger picture for businesses today – commitment to your social and environmental impact is more important than ever. Through greener fleet management, you can be kinder to the environment, earn brownie points for “doing your bit” and make savings that will ultimately improve your bottom line. So below are ten top tips from The Energy Savings Trust to a greener way of managing your business fleet. Promote vehicles with low CO2 emissions to help reduce employee car tax and National Insurance. Evaluate alternative fuel cars to see if they might benefit your fleet. ... »

Tips to Grow a Green Business for Free

Some surveys suggest that the UK’s SMEs are deterred by the cost of going green. The Government may indeed need to do more to help the country’s small firms to go green by providing, for instance, government grants for renewable energy, but to suggest that it cost British firms over £3 billion to “go green” last year it’s no wonder many small businesses might be put off. The reality is that some small initial steps toward “greening your business” will not cost your business a single penny. These green business tips may not be applicable for every small firm but it’s worth taking a look, as saving energy equates to saving money and saving money adds to the profitability of your business. Here’s how… Switch off the Lights. Whi... »

No More Tip Top-up for Minimum Wage

Recent reports have indicated that a number of employers in the restaurant business have been using tips to top-up employees’ earnings to meet the minimum wage. With the National Minimum Wage currently set at £5.52, and due to rise to £5.73 on the 1st of October, this has meant that some firms have effectively been paying a base pay rate less than the minimum wage and supplementing pay with service charges. Currently firms are allowed to follow this practice, but amidst major concerns from employees in the service sectors that rely on tipping, customers and now the government, topping up wages with tips is to be outlawed from next year. Unions in particular have called the practice "an abuse" and Unison have been protesting against the practice for years with th... »

Corporate Events: Guide to Effective Corporate Events

A Step-By-Step Guide with Hints and Tips Fundamentals The term “Event” covers a host of activities but for this guide it refers to: exhibitions and conventions conferences and seminars seasonal parties annual dinner and dances post AGM celebration for shareholders client entertainment. Why undertake an event? The prime reasons for any corporation to participate are to: thank your project team for a fine achievement celebrate gaining a significant client account improve relationships with existing clients develop relationships with new / prospective clients raise the company profile / image thank customers for their business educate and / or inform launch a new product or service. Events offer direct exposure to your target audience. Whatever the event, it should reflect yo... »

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